Cookie Dough Cashew Butter

I feel like cashews are all the rage lately. Have you guys tried making cashew frosting yet? I haven’t yet, but I’ve heard good things, so I have a few recipes bookmarked for the future! Although I’m kind of an almond butter fanatic (I’ll take homemade almond butter over ANY peanut butter, any day) I decided I would venture out into the other nuts of the world, and I tried cashews first.

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My thoughts? Initially, love. Somehow this stuff literally tastes like cookie dough. It must be the combination of the raw nuts and vanilla and salt. I thought I was crazy, and I didn’t want to go around claiming things like that, but I had my roommate confirm, and I think this is (almost) a substitute for cookie dough (hence the name…)

I wouldn’t say I love it more than almond butter, but that would be a pretty hard to beat, as far as I’m concerned (you might feel differently!) This is definitely a good option if I ever feel the need to switch it up though, and the flavour did go perfectly with fresh pears from the farmers market.

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Side note – Resist any urges to stick your spatula in the hole at the top of your processor to try to scrape the sides without turning it off. I’m not saying I know from experience or anything, but you might end up slicing your spatula and finding little pieces of blue silicone in your cashew butter. But I’m sure you’re smarter than that…

Oh, and another note – I know that different food processors take different amounts of time, but mine is nothing fancy, and I honestly have no idea what other people are talking about when they say they are standing there for 25 minutes, processing their nuts. It takes me maybe 10 minutes. Is it just me?

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Cookie Dough Cashew Butter

Makes 1 Large Jar

Adapted from The Healthy Foodie

2 cups Raw Cashews

1 tbsp Agave Nectar

1 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp Sea Salt

1. Add cashews to food processor. Turn on, and let puree.

2. First, you’ll see a coarse flour-like consistency. Then, it will start getting sticky and will want to climb up the sides of the bowl. Stop the processor and scrape them every once in a while. Soon, it will start getting thicker, and start clumping together. Eventually, it’s going to start getting creamy. Depending on how long this takes (like I said, anywhere from 10 – 25 minutes), you might want to give your food processor a bit of a break. You don’t want it to die, like my old one did (oops).

3. Once you’re happy with the consistency, add the agave, vanilla, and salt. Process for about another minute. Then, you’re done. The cashew butter will be pretty warm at this point, which is lovely for spreading on toast. Or apples. Or anything, really. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. It’ll last a good couple of weeks.

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Lemon Chicken Linguine

Late night post = short and sweet post.

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This pasta is exactly what I need to eat when I’m stressed out to the max with studying for my Canadian Nursing Exam (naturally, I still somehow make time to cook…). The lemon makes it feel summery, and although it has a good amount of butter, it’s lighter than most recipes that I’ve seen, which usually contain quite a bit of heavy cream. I also used spelt pasta that I got from an Italian specialty shop, which I love. The texture is much better than some other whole wheat pastas that I’ve tried.

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This one is a definite crowd pleaser, so I hope you’ll try it!

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Lemon Chicken Linguine:

Adapted from Mama Miss

Serves Four. 

2 Chicken Breasts

1 tsp Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1/4 cup Unsalted Butter

1/4 cup Parsley, finely chopped

5 Lemons, freshly squeezed

2 tbsp Lemon Zest (or zest of 4 lemons)

1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Garnishes: Parsley, Parmesan, Thin Lemon Slices, Freshly Ground Pepper

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add chicken to the heated skillet and lower temperature to medium, cover pan and grill chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165° F. Shred chicken and cover with foil to keep warm, then set aside.

2. Prepare linguine according to package directions, adding salt to water. Reserve and set aside one cup of linguine water and drain.

3. While linguine is cooking, heat butter in large skillet over medium heat until melted. Add shredded chicken and stir 1-2 minutes until heated through. Add parsley and lemon juice, and lemon zest to skillet, stir to combine. Add cooked linguine and grated cheese to skillet, toss mixture. Add a small amount of linguine water and stir to combine, adding more water as needed to create a light sauce.

4. Serve in bowls and top with parsley, parmesan, lemon slices, and freshly ground pepper.

Guilt Free Strawberry Crumble

I admittedly am pretty much the worst grocery shopper ever, but I actually really enjoy it. I usually forget to make lists, and when I do only lightly pay attention to them. I get very taken in by fancy displays and sales. Like on Tuesday, I found myself casually strolling through the natural foods aisle, and I ended up paying $5 each for some Green Juice and Kefir. Both were very good, but did I need to buy them? Probably not. Especially not when I’m attempting to be budget conscious with my trip coming up so soon.

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Remember that giant bin of strawberries (probably at least 4 pints) I bought the other week? This one is another delicious way I used all of those up. Although I’m still not really sure why I felt compelled to buy SO many berries, I will say that I did eat every one of them within a week, so at least I didn’t waste them.

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Fruit crumbles are right up there in my favourite desserts (you know, among tiramisu and creme brûlée and carrot cake and meringues and quite a few other things). They are so simple to whip up, and it turns out they can be made quite low-fat/low-sugar. Fruit is sweet enough as it is! I somehow got myself into the routine of feeling like I need dessert every night, so I’ve actually made a bunch of individual crisps recently using this recipe, and just change the cooking time/method a bit depending on the fruit. Totally guilt free (not that you should feel guilty about eating dessert!!) and oh so yummy!

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Guilt Free Strawberry Crumble

Serves 2

2 cups Fresh Strawberries, sliced

2 tsp Agave Syrup (or Honey)

2 tsp Corn Starch

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 cup Rolled Oats

1 tbsp Whole Wheat Flour

2 tsp Coconut Palm Sugar (or Brown Sugar)

1 tbsp Butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Toss sliced strawberries, agave, corn starch, and cinnamon in a small bowl and transfer to an oven – safe baking dish. In another bowl, combine rolled oats, whole wheat flour, coconut palm sugar, and melted butter. Spoon this mixture over berries.

3. Bake for about 20 minutes, until oats are crispy and golden brown and strawberries are bubbling around the edges. Serve warm.

Loaded Sweet Potato with Red Blanket Sauce

You know those weekends when you escape everything and don’t worry about anything and you aren’t the least bit productive? And it’s great and so much fun but then it’s Monday (well, Tuesday in this case – long weekend!) and you are FREAKING OUT because there are a million things you need to do? Welcome to my life.

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I spent the weekend in rural Saskatchewan – golfing, hanging out at cabins, and eating delicious food with my roommate and her family. Now I’m home and back at work and need to spend every second that I can studying for my Canadian Registered Nursing Exam and figuring out last minute details for my Europe Trip. I am possibly the worlds worst procrastinator, so of course I am majorly cramming for the next two weeks – apparently I did not learn my lesson after four years of doing the same thing for exams in University.

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But back to the recipe. It’s one of my new favourite “delicious but healthy” recipes. If you didn’t know this already, I will never tire of the combination of sweet potato, black beans, and avocado, and I’m really wondering how I didn’t come up with this one myself. I mean, it seems like a no brainer, doesn’t it? I love that you can adapt it to your tastes and depending on what you have in your fridge at any given time.

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And the sauce, you guys. It’s Sarah Britton’s take on a Mexican mole sauce and it is AMAZING. It’s like a smooth, creamy tomato sauce with a bit of a kick and a hint of chocolate, without being overly chocolate-y.  I added it to tacos, draped it over roasted vegetables, and just pretty much used it on whatever I could for a couple of weeks. The loaded sweet potatoes themselves are good, but the sauce really just takes them to a whole new level. I HIGHLY recommend that you make this one!

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Loaded Sweet Potato:

Serves Two 

Adapted from My New Roots 

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes

1 cup Black Beans

1 Avocado

Optional Toppings:

Cilantro

Green Onions

Corn Kernels

Sprouts

Lime Wedges

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Crumbled Goat Cheese

Sour Cream

Crushed Chili Flakes

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick sweet potato a few times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the potato. You will know it’s done when a knife can easily pierce the skin and the center is soft.

2. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and slice each one down the center, almost through to the bottom.

3. Stuff the sweet potato with black beans and avocado, then top with any optional toppings you are using. Pour red blanket sauce over the top, then serve and enjoy.

Red Blanket Sauce:

Makes 2 cups 

Adapted from My New Roots

1 tbsp Coconut Oil

1 medium Onion, diced

Salt, to taste

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1 can of Whole Tomatoes

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

1/4 tsp Ground Chipotle Powder

1/4 tsp Cayenne

2 Dates

2 tbsp Cacao Powder

1 tbsp Nut Butter or Tahini

4 tbsp Water, divided

1 1/2 tsp Lime Juice

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt coconut oil and add all spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add diced onions, a couple pinches of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another couple minutes. If the pot gets dry at any point, add a little of the tomato juice from the can.

2. Pour canned tomatoes into the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Taste, adjusting seasoning as needed.

3. Transfer the tomato mixture to a blender. Add pitted dates, cacao powder, nut butter, lime juice and a couple tablespoons of the water. Blend on high, adding water to thin as needed, until desired consistency is reached.

4. Serve warm over sweet potatoes, or add to tacos, use as a dip for roasted vegetables… Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for 1 – 2 weeks.

Brown Butter Buttermilk Biscuits

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Want to know about the flakiest, most flavourful biscuit I’ve ever eaten (let alone made)? Of course you do.

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First things first… you have to brown the butter. You really do. It adds this delicious, subtle, nutty-butteryness that is almost caramel tasting and you just need it. Next, I think the secret to this particular recipe is making sure that you work quickly and keep everything REALLY cold. Like, put your butter, egg, and buttermilk in the freezer for a good couple of minute before you add them. Take those steps seriously, okay? Okay.

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These were literally perfect with a small pat of butter and my Strawberry Chia Seed Jam, but I also loved having them for breakfast with some good ol’ bacon (or tempeh, if you’re a weirdo like me) and eggs. I mean, brown butter… egg yoke… So. Good. These could also be a good side for Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter dinner, with a nice roast, or fried chicken. Really anything. They are versatile. And delicious (did I already say that?). I’m just kinda sad I ate them all so quickly.

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Brown Butter Buttermilk Biscuits:

Makes 9 – 12 Biscuits 

Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

3/4 cup (1 1/2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, divided & cubed

2 cups All Purpose Flour

4 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Table Salt

1/2 cup Buttermilk, chilled

1 large Egg, cold

Egg Wash: 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tbsp Milk

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. In a small saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter (1/2 stick/2 oz) over medium low heat. Once the butter starts to foam up, stir continuously until the butter turns a golden brown hue and little brown specks start to appear. Remove from heat and let brown butter cool to room temperature (for real!)

3. In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Working quickly, add the chilled, cubed butter (1/2 cup/4 oz) and use a pastry blender or your hands to combine with flour until it is all in small, crumbly pieces.

4. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg, add the cooled brown butter to the mixture and whisk again to combine. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, then mix until just barely combined.

5. Lightly dust your working surface with flour then place the dough onto it, kneading 4 or 5 times until it all comes together. Use hands to press or gently roll the dough out to a 1 inch thickness. Cut out the biscuits using a glass or a 2 inch round biscuit/cookie cutter. Recombine the scraps and repeat with remaining dough. Transfer biscuits to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place biscuits in freezer for 2 or 3 minutes.

6. Once the biscuits are cold, brush the tops with egg wash and bake in oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until tall and golden brown. Serve warm.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

Two things that I’m currently obsessed with: chia seeds and strawberries. Neither is a particularly new thing for me, but I go through weird phases with food where I eat a ton of it for a month or two and then kind of move on and only eat it regular amounts.

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I bought this gigantic thing of strawberries for $8 and have been eating them non-stop – no other food tastes so much like summer! I’m not too sure where the chia seed thing came from, but I’ve been eating a ton of chia pudding (recipe later) and was so intrigued when I heard about chia seed jam. I’ve actually always wanted to make my own jam, but I am kind of intimidated by the whole canning process. I love jam, but hate how much sugar is in most store-bought varieties. This was the perfect solution for both problems!

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I couldn’t believe how easy and quick this jam was to make, and it was honestly delicious. Like, it tastes like the inside of a strawberry pie. Not quite the same as regular jam, but maybe even better. I’ve been eating it on everything – toast, banana bread, and these perfect biscuits (recipe later this week!) And I don’t even feel bad because it’s so healthy.

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Strawberry Chia Seed Jam:

Makes One Jar

Adapted from A House in the Hills and Oh She Glows

4 cups Fresh Strawberries, stemmed and chopped

1/4 cup Honey

1/4 cup Chia Seeds

1 tsp Vanilla

1. Combine strawberries and honey in a medium saucepan and cook over medium until the strawberries start to sweat and it gets a bit watery. Bring strawberries to a boil, then reduce heat to low, add chia seeds, and let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes, then pour mixture into a food processor and process until desired consistency is reached. Pour into a jar or a container and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks (if you can get it to last that long!)

Blackened Salmon with Mango Avocado Salsa

Why, hello summer! How lovely of you to join us so early this year! (Jk. That was last week. Then it snowed on Sunday. Now its meh. Typical Edmonton…) But just in case it’s lovely wherever you guys are at, here is the perfect recipe for a warm summer evening.

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Confession: I am possibly the worst barbecuer of all time. I don’t actually own one (though I want to!) and I’m honestly not confident that I could even turn one on. And since I have pretty much zero experience cooking on one, I tend to accidentally overcook meat on it and/or mess it up in some other way. Thankfully, I was at my mom’s house and she happens to be quite good at barbecuing. She gets a decent amount of credit for this one turning out so perfectly.

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I love salmon, and it is delicious on the barbecue, especially with this cajun spice rub. I think the spice rub would also work well on chicken drumsticks or thighs… yum. And holy this salsa is insanely good! I was literally eating it by the spoonful after dinner. Overall, this recipe was super easy and not time consuming at all, and I’ll certainly be making it lots (okay, if I had a bbq/could figure out how to use one I would. I’ll make the salsa lots.)

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Blackened Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa:

Serves 4 – 6 

Adapted from Against All Grain

1 1/2 – 2 lbs Wild Salmon Fillets

3 tsp Butter

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Sea Salt

1/2 tsp Onion Powder

1/2 tsp Oregano

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Chili Powder

1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/4 tsp Thyme

1/4 tsp Cayenne

Mango Salsa:

1 large Mango, peeled & diced

1 large Avocado, peeled & diced

1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes, diced

2 tbsp Red Onion, diced

Small handful Cilantro, chopped

1 tsp Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1. If not already cut, slice the salmon into 4 to 6 even fillets.

2. Combine the butter and all of the spices in a bowl. Rub all over both sides of the salmon. Leave at room temperature while the grill heats.

3. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat

4. Meanwhile, combine the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and store in the refrigerator while the fish cooks.

5. Sear the salmon, skinless side down first. Close the grill lid. Cook 1-3 minutes on the first side, depending on how thick the fillets are. (Try not to move them until you are going to flip them over to help keep them in one piece.)

6. Using tongs and a metal spatula in the other hand, carefully turn the fish over, so that the skin side is down, and reduce the heat to medium. For charcoal grills, finish cooking over indirect heat furthest from the coals.

7. Close the grill lid and finish cooking for another 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Salmon should be just barely opaque and will start to flake along the center of the fillet when done. Serve hot with mango-avocado salsa spooned over it.

Oatmeal Honey Banana Bread

A funny thing that I’ve realized since I moved is that now, if you pay close attention, you’ll be able to tell just how far behind I am on my posts based on the backgrounds in the pictures. You’ll have to cut my some slack. May is going to be crazy busy around here before I leave for Europe for 6.5 weeks (SO EXCITED!)

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I’m going to be away a few weekends, going to Calgary to see friends and possibly visiting Saskatchewan for my first time ever! This past weekend I went to the Derby (in Edmonton, not Kentucky, unfortunately!) and I have a ton of things to prepare for my trip, plus studying for my CRNE.

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The bonus is that I’m attempting to eat a bit more healthy to get my beach bod ready, so if you’re in the same boat you’ll be pleased to see some “healthier” recipes. Like this banana bread. It’s 140 calories per slice. And it is incredibly moist and very delicious. Honestly I think I like it better than a lot of more sugar-y, less whole wheat-y/oat-y kinds I’ve made before. Admittedly, I do miss the chocolate chips that I usually add, and probably add more butter to make up for the loss (you win some, you lose some…)

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Oatmeal Honey Banana Bread:

Makes 1 Loaf (12 Slices) 

Adapted From Ambitious Kitchen

1 heaping cup Mashed Banana (I used 3 bananas)

1/3 cup Honey

1/3 cup Applesauce

1 tsp Vanilla

1 Egg

3/4 cup Vanilla Almond Milk

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 cup Rolled Oats, plus more for topping

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

3/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In large bowl combine mashed banana, applesauce, honey, egg, almond milk and vanilla until well combined and creamy. In separate medium bowl whisk together whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined (don’t over mix!).

3. Pour into prepared loaf pan, sprinkle oats over top (if desired), and bake for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.

4. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 12 slices and enjoy! Keep bread tightly wrapped or in a sealed container for up to 1 week, or freeze.

Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup

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Okay, so I know soups are for winter, particularly when they include the word “hearty”. And the weather around here has been beautiful this week (we’re talking practically summer temps) so I don’t really have an excuse. But do I need one? I love soup, I love lentils, this one is super healthy, and it has been a lifesaver to have it in the freezer when I’ve spent the past week packing/moving/unpacking (PS – I’m loving my new place!)

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This soup is very filling, but it’s delicious served with a crusty whole grain bread and a light side salad. I particularly like the additions of cayenne pepper, crushed tomatoes, and lemon juice. I think they give it an extra little something. You’ll be able to put this together really quickly, so as long as you have an hour to let it cook, I think this would be a great weeknight meal. Or you could make it on a Sunday and freeze the leftovers, which turn out great. This one is definitely a keeper.

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Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup:

Makes 6-8 Servings

Adapted from Allrecipes & Love and Lentils

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion, diced

3 cloves Garlic

2 – 3 Carrots, sliced

2 stalks Celery, sliced

2 cups Green Lentils, rinsed & picked through

1 tsp Dried Oregano

1 tsp Dried Basil

1 Bay Leaf

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 can Crushed Tomatoes

6 cups Vegetable Stock

1/2 cup Spinach, rinsed & chopped

2 tbsp Lemon Juice

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, cayenne, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.

2. Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more lemon juice if desired.